It’s cherry season in the northeast!
Well, it’s almost cherry season. Actually, strawberry season is approaching quickly, but alas, it seems I will be missing out on both this year due to my surgery :(. K and I are going to try to squeeze in some quick strawberry picking this weekend before we leave for Boston. I’m going to see if I can just freeze the berries and make them into jam later in the summer when I’m recovering and home from work.
In the meantime, today’s post is on my adventure making cherry jam last year. There’s lots of websites out there that tell you exactly what you need to make jam, but here are the highlights:
You DON’T need a real boiling water canner. In fact, K and I just use the largest stockpot we own, which I think is around 12 quarts. We use the rack that came with our crockpot to hold the jars within the pot, so the there’s some space between the bottom of the jars and the bottom of the pot.
First you need to sterilize your lids and bands.
Then you need to sterilize your mason jars. If you have a bigger pot, you can sterilize bigger jars and more of them, but this is all we can do at one time.
Then you need to pit lots and lots of cherries – a full quart. Lots of cherries will be consumed while doing this task 🙂 Afterwards, giving them a quick chop in the food processor is needed. Don’t chop them to a pulp, just a little bit.
After that, crush up the cherries a little bit. This helps release pectin as well.
Combine the cherries, lots o’ sugar (6 cups worth!) and pectin into a large saucepot and bring it to a boil.
When its ready, ladle it into the mason jars that have been sitting in the canner, sterilizing.
Using the magnet stick, take the lids out of the boiling water and affix it to the job of the jar. Be careful to keep everything as sterile as you can!
Finally, screw on the bands and voila, jam! Leave it out to cool down to room temperature for 12-24 hours. As the jam cools, you’ll hear a “ping!” as the jar cools. The air in the jar starts contracting and sucks down the lid creating a sort of vacuum. If you don’t hear a ping, you can still check physically to see if the lids has been sucked down. If in 12-24 hours, the seal hasn’t formed, you can repeat the process with a new lid. Or you can just stick that jar in the fridge and use it as needed without processing. At least that’s what we did, without a problem!
I am so sad I’m going to miss cherry picking this year but my MIL has promised me she will save me 15lbs or so when she goes. I can’t wait to make some jam for next year! We are just finishing our last jar of cherry jam from last year now and I enjoy every bite!